Malpighia glabra, or better known as the acerola cherry, is a bush that is a member of the Malphighiaceae family. It is largely cultivated in Brazil, however it is also found in Florida, southern Texas, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. It can be known by many other names as well such as the Barbados Cherry, West Indian Cherry, Manoa Sweet, Florida Sweet, and Semeruco. The acerola cherry was first brought to Florida around 1887 or 1888. There is evidence that points to this plant originating from the Yucatan. Did you know that the amount of Vitamin C in one acerola cherry is 65 times the content in an orange?
The acerola cherry tree can also be known as a bushy shrub. It can grow up to heights of 20 to 30 feet tall, with green leaves that can grow to sizes of ¾ of an inch to almost 3 inches long, and half of an inch to 1 and a half inches wide. They can be a round shape at the base and have little white silky hairs before they have matured. There are small flowers that grow that can range in color from pink to white, and are spoon shaped. The actual cherries are a red color, round, and grow from half of an inch to one inch wide. The cherries will can grow in groups of two or three, or just single ones can grow as well.
Acerola cherries can be used in many different products and industries. They can be used for skin care, bath and body products, medicinal purposes, hair care, soap making, and in foods and beverages. Common bath and body products that can include acerola cherries are lotions, creams, ointments, soaps, shampoos and conditioners, bath teas, massage oils, bath bombs, facial masks, scrubs, aftershaves, and facial toners.
Like any plant or tree, acerola cherry trees have their own special conditions needed in which to grow properly. It grows best when in areas with tropical climates. It does not do well with full sun exposure, needing to be in areas with just partial exposure. Mature trees can survive in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, however younger trees will not. The tree grows best in soils that are well drained, with pH levels of at least 5.5. The roots will develop more significantly however if in areas with pH levels of 6.5. It can grow in limestone, clay, and marl.
When the seeds are planted, they should be spaced about 12 to 20 feet apart, so that the tree will have enough room to grow. Some trees may actually begin to produce fruit only a year after being planted, however most will not start to produce their fruits until 3 or 4 years after first being planted. Most trees will continue to produce fruit for well over 15 years. When the fruits first begin to bud, it will take about 25 days for them to turn red and become ripe and mature. However, they are usually picked when they are still green, because they will have twice as much Vitamin C then as compared to when they are fully ripe.
There are some pests and diseases that can affect the acerola cherry tree. If grown in sandy or acidic soils, it can be susceptible to the root-knot nematode and the burrowing nematode. It is also susceptible to many insects, especially when the tree is young, such as aphids, whiteflies, and leaf rollers. Stinkbugs can cause the fruit to grow with malformations, and fruit flies will attack the fruit as well. Some diseases that can affect the tree are green scurf, anthracnose, and leaf spotting from fungus.
Uses in Industries
Acerola cherries can be used for many culinary purposes. They are best used right after they are picked or harvested. The actual fruit itself can be eaten when it is ripe, and it can also be made into jams, jellies, and even syrup. The cherries can even be made into juice, which in Brazil, acerola juice is as popular as orange juice. They can be used in many gelatin desserts, punch, popsicles, and sherbets. The cherries can also be used as an ingredient in many wonderful fruit smoothies.
Bath and Body Products
Acerola cherries can be used in many different industries and products. Besides their culinary purposes, they are also used for skin care benefits, hair care, medicinal purposes, and for soap making. Acerola cherry powder can also be used for products that promote healthy nail care.
Common products can include acerola cherry powder are massage oils, bath bombs, bath teas, ointments, lotions, creams, shampoos and conditioners, facial toners, scrubs, aftershaves, and facial masks.
There are many hair care benefits to using acerola cherry powder. It helps to maintain shine, giving the hair a healthier and richer appearance. It also works to hydrate and revitalize the hair, prevents hair loss, and is great for keeping color treated hair looking healthy.
For skin care, it works to help protect from premature aging, soothes wrinkles, and tones and rejuvenates the skin. It also helps to boost elastin and collagen production, as well as brightening the skin and helping it to retain moisture.
There are many wonderful medicinal benefits to using acerola cherry powder. It contains many vitamins and nutrients that are extremely important to your body such as Vitamin A, C, B1, B2, calcium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iron, carotenes, niacin, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and protein. It also has many antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties as well.
Because acerola cherries are so high in Vitamin C, the Vitamin C is great for treating many conditions such as scurvy, colds, infections, chronic fatigue, many dental problems, and excessive bruising and bleeding. The Vitamin C is also great for promoting a healthy immune system, rejuvenating body tissue, helps to combat stress, and helping to balance moods.
Traditionally in Brazil, acerola cherries are used as treatment for fever and dysentery. It is also used as a heart tonic and as a stimulant for the renal and liver systems.
Acerola cherries can also be used as a natural treatment for conditions like rheumatism, diabetes, anemia, high cholesterol, tuberculosis, and many fungal infections. They also work to heal any wounds or burns.
There are some dental problems that can be treated using acerola cherries as well such as tooth decay and gum infections.
Retinal hemorrhages, meaning bleeding in the eyes, can also be treated with acerola cherries as well as pressure sores, hay fever, depression, constipation, diarrhea, and collagen disorders.
Acerola is also used to prevent heart disease, or hardening of the arteries, cancer, and even blood clots.
There is the possibility that the fruit of the acerola cherry tree can cause an allergic reaction for people who are allergic to latex.
Nature’s Garden sells acerola cherry powder for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great acerola cherries are for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.
Are you wondering how to try out this awesome product as soon as possible? Well, we offer many free recipes and classes here at Nature’s Garden, and our Lavender Fizzy Bath recipe is actually made with our acerola cherry powder!